Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed
Reply to Topic
Author Discussion

streaky

Original Poster:

19,311 posts

135 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Mail on Sunday said:
Car park operators could be forced to stop threatening motorists with huge penalty charges after a landmark court ruling.

In a decision that will be welcomed by many aggrieved drivers, a judge has ruled that the demands for hundreds of pounds in penalties which a parking company sent to one woman driver were illegal because they were too high.

The court was told they were intended to "frighten or intimidate" her rather than compensate the firm for any lost income.

The case is expected to have far-reaching implications for private parking firms.

Labour MP Alan Meale, who has campaigned on behalf of motorists, said: "This ruling gives hope that people who have had money taken from them wrongly by parking companies may be able to recover it."

And the woman's solicitor, Martin Lee, said: "In future, companies that charge these sorts of sums will have them struck out unless they can prove that they are a proper account of any financial loss.

"The courts have shown that unfairly high bank charges are a penalty charge and therefore unjustifiable. The same principle applies here."

In a ground-breaking decision, the judge quashed a series of £100 demands sent to Victoria Hetherington-Jakeman, who had allegedly left her car at a shopping centre for more than the permitted two hours.

She was sued by Excel Parking Services, which is run by a man once acquitted of demanding money with menaces from the owners of clamped cars and who is allowed electronic access to the Government's database of 38million motorists – despite being temporarily barred last year following scores of complaints about its behaviour.

Ms Hetherington-Jakeman, 60, was sued for failing to pay three £60 parking tickets which she did not even know she had been given.

Her visits to the Portland Retail Park near her home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, took place between September and November 2006.

But no tickets were left on the windscreen of her Mercedes and she heard nothing from Excel until the following January when she was sent a bill for £300, followed by letters from bailiffs threatening to confiscate her property unless she paid up.

Excel boss Simon Renshaw-Smith manages a number of parking stations
Excel had used a fixed camera to record her numberplate as she entered and left the site. It then passed the details to the DVLA, which sent back an email with her name and address.

Mr Lee told Mansfield County Court that the levy of £100 per offence was an "unlawful penalty clause" intended to "frighten or intimidate" and therefore unenforceable.

This argument was accepted by District Judge Wall, who ruled that the fines did not have to be paid.

Last night, Ms Hetherington-Jakeman, who is head of quality control at a printing firm, said she was relieved her 14-month battle was over.

"Excel's behaviour has been absolutely disgraceful throughout. When I tried to contact them – and the only way to do that was on a 50p-a-minute premium-rate phone line – I got no response. They said they couldn't discuss the matter.

"They couldn't even get the most basic details right. First, they said my car was black, then silver. It's white.

"They claimed the initial £60 parking tickets hadn't arrived because of a hold-up at the Royal Mail, though the Post Office said that wasn't true.

"It's been very stressful but at least we have got the judgment we wanted."

Excel, which manages a number of hospital, retail and station car parks, is run from an office in Sheffield by Simon Renshaw-Smith, 41, who is also director of a wheel-clamping firm called Captain Clampit Ltd.

In 1993 he was accused at Sheffield magistrates' court of demanding £145 with menaces from two drivers whose cars he had immobilised.

Asked last night about the case, Mr Renshaw-Smith said: "The accusations against me were dropped. I was acquitted."

Last July, Excel was finally removed from the "approved" list of organisations allowed electronic access to the DVLA's database.

It followed complaints from around the country and the formation of a 100-strong action group in Mansfield made up entirely of motorists who claimed they had been unfairly treated by Excel.

The move meant that Excel was forced to apply for personal data by post on a case-by-case basis.

Yet the ban was lifted only three months later. A DVLA spokesman said inspectors visited the firm and decided it was using the data "appropriately".

MP Mr Meale said he would demand an explanation of the decision from Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly.

Martin Bingley, a spokesman for the Mansfield action group, said: "Excel has an appalling reputation for failing to respond to appeals and for insisting they are right and the customer wrong."

Excel, which has now lost its contract to run the Portland car park, said it was "disappointed" by the court ruling in Ms Hetherington-Jakeman's favour and was considering an appeal.

catso

11,114 posts

153 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Yeah the "unlawful penalty clause" intended to "frighten or intimidate" must be reserved only for 'the mans' use....... rolleyes

James Heath

18 posts

80 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Alot of these clamping and parking enforcement firms have my complete contempt. Common sense prevails! (for once)

Jasandjules

51,341 posts

115 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
I bet they will appeal this.

They have to, can you imagine how much money they will lose if they don't?

esselte

14,626 posts

153 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Who's resposible for paying these charges or fines?Is it the RK or the driver?If it's the driver then how can the parking company prove who was driving? As it's not a criminal offence then the RK won't have to do an S170 surely?
Advertisement

Jasandjules

51,341 posts

115 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
It would be the driver in law who had the contract.

And the thieving scum, sorry, Car Park company will just state to the RK "you owe us" and as most people don't know the law, they will pay up sheep like.

FishFace

3,790 posts

94 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
esselte said:
Who's resposible for paying these charges or fines?Is it the RK or the driver?If it's the driver then how can the parking company prove who was driving? As it's not a criminal offence then the RK won't have to do an S170 surely?
They can't do dick. I despise private parking firms. I despise barely accountable bodies having access to the DVLA's information.


streaky

Original Poster:

19,311 posts

135 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
FishFace said:
esselte said:
Who's resposible for paying these charges or fines?Is it the RK or the driver?If it's the driver then how can the parking company prove who was driving? As it's not a criminal offence then the RK won't have to do an S170 surely?
They can't do dick. I despise private parking firms. I despise barely accountable bodies having access to the DVLA's information.
It's YOUR Personal Data, not the DVLA's. They're only the Data Collector and Data Processor.

The view that it's (in some way) the government's data is akin to the thinking that it's the government's money. It isn't! It's ours. At least in the USA the advertisements say "Your tax dollars at work". Here they dissemble and try to convince us it's an "EU grant". It's still our bl00dy money (and a sodding lot of it too)! And it's our bl00dy data!

Streaky
With apologies to the overused exclamation mark!

peterguk V6 KWK

2,613 posts

103 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Is there not part of the DPA that allows people not to have their data shared?

Jasandjules

51,341 posts

115 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
peterguk V6 KWK said:
Is there not part of the DPA that allows people not to have their data shared?
Ah, there are exceptions for lawful reasons etc.. and somehow or other, passing your information on to a private contractor for money, over a disputed parking ticket, is deemed (by the DVLA at least) acceptable.. Perhaps it's because they make a lot of requests, so they are good "customers"...

Yet when I had someone bump into my car in the car park, and took a pic of their car parked on mine, it was not deemed suitable to release the information of the other driver for me to issue proceedings, for, you've guessed it, Data Protection reasons.....

fluffnik

19,642 posts

113 months

[news] 
Sunday 23rd March 2008 quote quote all
Jasandjules said:
peterguk V6 KWK said:
Is there not part of the DPA that allows people not to have their data shared?
Ah, there are exceptions for lawful reasons etc.. and somehow or other, passing your information on to a private contractor for money, over a disputed parking ticket, is deemed (by the DVLA at least) acceptable.
More broken government in need of total replacement.

I've got a little medium list...

(better von? tongue out )

Chrisgr31

8,887 posts

141 months

[news] 
Monday 24th March 2008 quote quote all
Its interesting that Excel were prepared to take it all the way to Court. Can't have read the threads on here on the subject, although the usual route on here has been how they prove who is driving.

But the reaonableness of the charges has been mentioned numerous times too.

Reply to Topic